When I retired in 2017, I figured that would be the end of my working career, but after spending 4 months in the South Island in early 2018, I returned home to find myself at something of a loss as to what to do. I looked back at what I had done over the previous years and realised that I had got an enormous amount of help in my business from the team at Business Mentors NZ and wondered about becoming a mentor myself. For those that don’t know the mentor role is voluntary, so it’s about giving something back.
To be honest I was a little worried that my experience wouldn’t fit with what was needed or that the clients would think I was a little too casual/alternative (No suit, long hair ponytail etc.). Still, it turned out that these concerns were in my head and not those of the people I was destined to work with.
Since I started mentoring a year ago, I have worked with a number of different people from all sorts of industries who either have dreamed about starting and running their own business. Or have an existing business but are facing a challenge that requires an outside viewpoint. Two companies relate to the motorhome world that I have managed to help along the way, and I thought I could also share their stories with their permission as part of my blog. You never know one of them may offer something you need.
Firstly Dave from a company called Autoblast Ltd who specialise in the treatment of underbody rust for all sorts of vehicles. Dave had been trading for several years and like a lot of self-employed people found himself working excess hours so he had called in Business Mentors to help him get his business to the stage where he could take a weeks holiday. We worked hard on a strategy to get Dave his holiday, and I am pleased to report that he has now achieved this.
During our first meeting, while we discussed the whole business model, we also talked about a wide range of imports coming from the UK that have suffered corrosion damage caused by salted roads. Even those in NZ that store their motorhomes and barely drive them can have corrosion issues in the chassis caused by the equivalent of rising damp from the ground surface. We discussed an action plan that included an advertisement in the NZMCA magazine, and I am pleased to say that this has resulted in increased business for Dave.
Since those early meetings back in 2018 Dave has now developed another string to his bow with a specific business set up to treat new and near new utes to give them added protection over and above what the manufacturers offer. This is especially useful if you are off-road or on the beach launching a boat as we all know the damage salt water does.
The other company that I have been working with is a start-up business with Andy at Van Lab Ltd who has come up with a great idea to manufacture and sell flat-pack campervan conversion kits. Andy who holds a doctorate in engineering (so obviously a smart cookie) arrived in NZ from the UK 18 months ago doing what a lot of young people do buy a van and travelling large parts of NZ.
The big difference with Andy is that he designed and built the interior of his van himself and refined this over the months he was travelling the country. His extensive research on the small campervan market in NZ showed him that people are paying a premium price for vans that are set up for freedom camping. So using his engineering skills and the CAD-CAM process, he set up the business to manufacture flat pack campervan conversion kits. This will allow the client to buy a better quality van and then turn it into a campervan in less than 3 hours with one of his packages.
There is an excellent video of his kit being put together in under 3 hours which you can watch by clicking play above.
Realising the importance of a self-containment certificate, Andy has designed these conversion kits so that they will meet CSC requirements. In fact, all of his packages which vary in price from $1950 upwards are set up in such a way that the toilet can be used comfortably while the bed is entirely made up an essential requirement for the new CSC regulations. You can if you won’t even get the top end kit complete with house battery and wiring loom to enable charging while driving as well as powering USB sockets throughout the van.
So second shameless plug if you are looking at something you can do yourself. And are wanting to convert either a Nissan Caravan, Toyota Hiace, Mitsubishi L300 or Mazda Bongo then check out the website or Facebook page or email him firstname.lastname@example.org to make contact.
As I mentioned, these are only two of the people/businesses I have worked with. I mention them due to their involvement with motorhomes and campervans it’s not to say any of the other people I have worked with are any lessor in value just that they aren’t really relevant to this blog. The great news is that I can mentor from almost anywhere with phone calls, Skype and email and then set up an appointment for when I am back home.
I have found working with Business Mentors fascinating. Since it is a nationwide thing covering businesses of all types no matter where they or you are located in the country. It’s something that if you are at a loss with what to do with yourself and have business skills that you think might be useful. It could be your way of giving back to the community while finding new ways to challenge yourself. Look them up online and make contact.
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